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    dang (interj.) — dazzle (v.)

    dang (interj.)

    1781 (in Sophia Lee's comedy "A Chapter of Accidents," which was acted first in 1780), a minced euphemism for damn.ETD dang (interj.).2

    danger (n.)

    mid-13c., daunger, "arrogance, insolence;" c. 1300, "power of a lord or master, jurisdiction," from Anglo-French daunger, Old French dangier "power, power to harm, mastery, authority, control" (12c., Modern French danger), alteration (due to association with damnum) of dongier, from Vulgar Latin *dominarium "power of a lord," from Latin dominus "lord, master," from domus "house" (from PIE root *dem- "house, household").ETD danger (n.).2

    Modern sense of "risk, peril, exposure to injury, loss, pain, etc." (from being in the control of someone or something else) evolved first in French and was in English by late 14c. For this, Old English had pleoh; in early Middle English this sense is found in peril. For sound changes, compare dungeon, which is from the same source.ETD danger (n.).3

    dangerous (adj.)

    c. 1200, daungerous, "difficult to deal with, arrogant, severe" (the opposite of affable), from Anglo-French dangerous, Old French dangeros (12c., Modern French dangereux), from danger "power, power to harm, mastery, authority, control" (see danger).ETD dangerous (adj.).2

    In Chaucer, it can mean "hard to please; reluctant to give; overbearing." The modern sense of "involving danger, hazardous, unsafe, risky, liable to inflict injury or harm" is from c. 1400. Other words formerly used in this sense included dangersome (1560s), dangerful (1540s). Related: Dangerously.ETD dangerous (adj.).3

    dangle (v.)

    1590s, intransitive, "hang loosely, be suspended so as to sway in the wind," probably from Scandinavian (compare Danish dangle, Swedish dangla "to swing about," Norwegian dangla), perhaps via North Frisian dangeln. Transitive sense of "carry suspended so as to swing or sway" is from 1610s. Related: Dangled; dangling.ETD dangle (v.).2


    proper name, Hebrew, literally "God is my judge;" related to Dan, literally "he who judges," the name given to the tribe descended from Jacob's son of that name in the Old Testament. Consistently in the top 15 names for boys born in the U.S. from 1972 through 2008.ETD Daniel.2


    fem. proper name, from Daniel. In U.S., little used before c. 1940 and in the top 20 for girls born from 1984-1994.ETD Danielle.2

    Danish (adj.)

    "of or pertaining to Denmark or the Danes," 14c., replacing Old English Denisc "people of Denmark" (also including the Norse), with vowel change as in Dane (q.v.). As a noun, "the language of the Danes," from early 15c. Danish pastry is by 1934; shortened form danish is by 1963. It seems to have been invented in Vienna, but for some reason it was associated with Scandinavia. The Danes correctly call it Wienerbrod "Viennese bread." In reference to furniture styles, Danish modern is from 1948.ETD Danish (adj.).2

    dank (adj.)

    "saturated with cold moisture," c. 1400, earlier as a verb (early 14c.), now obsolete, meaning "to moisten," used of mists, dews, etc. Perhaps from Scandinavian (compare Swedish dank "moist place," dänka "to moisten") or German (compare Middle High German damph, Dutch damp "vapor"). Now largely superseded by damp (adj.). As a noun, "cold moisture," c. 1400. Related: Dankly; dankness.ETD dank (adj.).2


    familiar form of proper name Daniel. The words to the popular song "Danny Boy" were written by English songwriter Frederic Weatherly in 1910 and altered in 1913 to fit the old Irish tune of "Londonderry Air."ETD Danny.2

    danseuse (n.)

    "female dancer," especially a ballet-dancer," 1828, from French, fem. of danseur, agent noun from danser (see dance (v.)). The earlier word in English was danceress (Middle English daunceresse, late 14c.).ETD danseuse (n.).2


    masc. proper name, most modern uses outside Italy ultimately are in reference to Dante Alighieri (c. 1265-1321), the great poet; the name is a shortening of Latin Durante, from durare "to harden, endure," from durus "hard," from PIE *dru-ro-, suffixed variant form of root *deru- "be firm, solid, steadfast." Related: Dantean, Dantescan, Dantesque (the last from French).ETD Dante.2


    major river of Europe flowing into the Black Sea (German Donau, Hungarian Duna, Russian Dunaj), from Latin Danuvius (Late Latin Danubius), from Celtic *danu(w)-yo-, from PIE *danu- "river" (compare Don, Dnieper, Dniester). Related: Danubian.ETD Danube.2


    German name of Polish Gdańsk, city on the Baltic coast of Poland, perhaps from Gdania, an older name for the river that runs through it, or from Gothic Gutisk-anja "end of the (territory of the) Goths." The spelling (attested from 13c.) in the German form of the name perhaps suggests a connection with Dane.ETD Danzig.2

    Daoism (n.)

    alternative Romanization of Taoism (q.v.).ETD Daoism (n.).2

    dap (n.)

    fist-bump greeting, in African-American popular culture by 1972, with various theories as to origin and name meaning. Probably imitative (dap was used in 19c. for the bounce of a ball or the skip of a stone on water). Dap, meanwhile, is listed in the DAS as African-American vernacular c. 1950 for "aware, up to date," also "stylish, well-dressed," in the latter case at least a shortening of dapper. Controversial during the Vietnam War when used by U.S. soldiers, as it often was regarded by whites as a ritual act of black solidarity.ETD dap (n.).2


    fem. proper name, from Greek daphne "laurel, bay tree;" in mythology the name of a nymph, daughter of the river Peneus, metamorphosed into a laurel by Gaia to save her from being ravished as she was pursued by Apollo. The word probably is related to Latin laurus (see laurel).ETD Daphne.2

    dapper (adj.)

    mid-15c., "elegant, neat, trim," from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German dapper "bold, strong, sturdy," later "quick, nimble," from Proto-Germanic *dapraz (source also of Old High German tapfar "heavy," German tapfer "brave"), perhaps with ironical shift of meaning, from PIE root *dheb- "dense, firm, compressed."ETD dapper (adj.).2

    Later shifting toward "small and active, nimble, brisk, lively" (from c. 1600). "Formerly appreciative; now more or less depreciative, with associations of littleness or pettyness" [OED].ETD dapper (adj.).3

    dappled (adj.)

    "spotted, marked with roundish spots of different colors or shades," early 15c., probably from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse depill "spot," Norwegian dape "puddle, splash of water." Or perhaps a back-formation from, or merger with, Middle English adjective dapple-gray "apple-gray" (late 14c.), used first of a horse, based on resemblance to the markings on an apple (compare Old Norse apalgrar "dapple-gray").ETD dappled (adj.).2

    Dapple (adj.) "marked with spots, having spots of different colors or shades" (1550s), dapple (n.) "a spot, one of a number of various spots" (1570s), and dapple (v.) "to mark with various roundish spots of different colors or shades" (1590s) seem too late to be the source, but the relationship of all of them is uncertain.ETD dappled (adj.).3

    Also, for origin of the sense, compare Middle English shimed (mid-15c.), of a horse, "dappled, dapple-gray," etymologically "shadowed," related to Old English scima "shade, glimmer."ETD dappled (adj.).4


    initialism for Daughters of the American Revolution, a non-profit patriotic service organization founded in 1890 for women directly descended from someone involved in the war of independence by the American colonies of Great Britain.ETD D.A.R..2


    Arabic word, literally "house," used in place names, such as Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, literally "House of Peace," Darfur, etc.ETD dar.2


    masc. personal name, representing a southern England pronunciation of Derby. Also see Joan. Darbies, slang for "handcuffs," is by 1670s, implied in other forms from 1570s, but the association is obscure.ETD Darby.2


    strait between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmara, separating Europe from Asia, the classical Hellespont, probably from Dardanus (Greek Dardanos), name of an ancient city near Troy, on the Asia side of the strait, home of the Dardani, a people-name said to be from a mythical founder Dardanus, but this is likely folk-etymology. Related: Dardanian.ETD Dardanelles.2

    dare (v.)

    Middle English durren, daren, from first and third person singular of Old English durran "be bold enough, have courage" (to do something), also transitive "to venture, presume," from Proto-Germanic *ders- (source also of Old Norse dearr, Old High German giturran, Gothic gadaursan), according to Watkins from PIE root *dhers- "bold" (source also of Sanskrit dadharsha "to be bold;" Old Persian darš- "to dare;" Greek thrasys "bold," tharsos "confidence, courage, audacity;" Old Church Slavonic druzate "to be bold, dare;" Lithuanian drįsti "to dare," drąsus "courageous").ETD dare (v.).2

    An Old English irregular preterite-present verb: darr, dearst, dear were first, second and third person singular present indicative; mostly regularized 16c., though past tense dorste survived as durst, but is now dying, persisting mainly in northern English dialect.ETD dare (v.).3

    Transitive sense of "attempt boldly to do" is from 1630s. Meaning "to challenge or defy (someone), provoke to action," especially by asserting or implying that one lacks the courage to accept the challenge, is by 1570s. Weakened sense in I dare say (late 14c.) "I suppose, I presume, I think likely," now usually implying more or less indifference. How dare you? is from c. 1200 (Hu durre ȝe).ETD dare (v.).4

    daring (n.)

    "adventurous courage," 1610s, verbal noun from dare (v.).ETD daring (n.).2

    dare (n.)

    "a challenge, defiance," 1590s, from dare (v.).ETD dare (n.).2

    daredevil (n.)

    1794, "recklessly daring person, one who fears nothing and will attempt anything," from dare (v.) + devil (n.). The devil might refer to the person, or the sense might be "one who dares the devil." For the formation, compare scarecrow, killjoy, dreadnought, pickpocket (n.), cut-throat, also fear-babe a 16c. word for "something that frightens children;" kill-devil "bad rum," sell-soul "one who sells his soul" (1670s).ETD daredevil (n.).2

    As an adjective, "characteristic of a daredevil, reckless," by 1832. Related: Daredevilism; daredeviltry.ETD daredevil (n.).3


    region in Sudan, named for its people, from Arabic dar, literally "house" + Fur, ethnic name of the indigenous African population.ETD Darfur.2


    name of three Persian rulers, notably Darius the Great, Persian emperor 521-485 B.C.E., from Greek Darius, from Old Persian Darayavaus, probably literally "he who holds firm the good," from PIE root *dher- "to hold firmly, support."ETD Darius.2


    town in northeastern India, from Tibetan dojeling "diamond island," in reference to Vajrayana (literally "vehicle of the diamond") Buddhism. The "island" being the high ground of the place's site. As a type of tea, by 1862.ETD Darjeeling.2

    dark (adj.)

    Middle English derk, later dark, from Old English deorc "without light, lacking light or brightness (especially at night), obscure, gloomy;" figuratively "sad, cheerless; sinister, wicked," from Proto-Germanic *derkaz (source also of Old High German tarchanjan "to hide, conceal"), which is of uncertain etymology. For vowel change, see marsh.ETD dark (adj.).2

    Application to colors, "not radiating or reflecting much light," is from late 14c. Of complexion, "not fair," from early 14c. Figurative sense of "obscure, not easily understood" is from early 13c.; that of "sullen, sad" is from 1590s. Meaning "concealed, secret" is from late 14c. Dark Continent "Africa" (1828) combines several figurative senses (earliest references are in missionary publications). Theater slang for "closed" is from 1916.ETD dark (adj.).3

    Dark Ages "benighted time in history, period of ignorance" is attested by 1739; the specific focus on the centuries of the early Middle Ages in Europe, from the fall of Rome to the revival of secular literature, is from 1830s, from dark in a sense of "characterized by ignorance, backward in learning, void of intellectual light" (late 14c.).ETD dark (adj.).4

    Dark horse "competitor for honors or office about whom nothing certain is known, or whose identity is at first concealed," especially, in U.S., politics, "one who is unexpectedly brought forward as a candidate in a convention," 1842, is an image from horse racing, of horses whose performances or capabilities are not generally known, in which dark is used in its figurative sense of "unknown."ETD dark (adj.).5

    dark (n.)

    early 13c., derk, "absence of light, night-time," from dark (adj.). Figurative in the dark "in a state of ignorance" is from 1670s; earlier it meant "in secrecy, in concealment" (late 14c.).ETD dark (n.).2

    darkness (n.)

    Old English deorcnysse "absence of light," from dark (adj.) + -ness. The 10c. Anglo-Saxon treatise on astronomy uses þeostrum for "darkness." Figurative use for "sinfulness, wickedness" is from early 14c. From late 14c. as "obscurity," also "secrecy, concealment," also "blindness," physical, mental, or spiritual.ETD darkness (n.).2

    darken (v.)

    c. 1300, derken, "to make dark or darker, deprive of light;" early 14c. (intransitive), "to grow or become dark," from dark (adj.) + -en (1). The more usual verb in Middle English in both senses was simply dark, as it is in Chaucer and Shakespeare, and darken did not predominate until 17c. The Anglo-Saxons also had a verb sweorcan meaning "to grow dark."ETD darken (v.).2

    Meanings "grow less white or clear, turn a darker color" and "render less white or clear" are from late 14c. Figurative sense of "render gloomy, sadden" is from 1742. To darken (one's) door (usually with a negative) "enter one's house as a visitor," usually with an implication of unwelcomeness, is attested from 1729.ETD darken (v.).3

    darkener (n.)

    "one who or that which darkens," 1610s, agent noun from darken (v.).ETD darkener (n.).2

    darky (n.)

    also darkey, darkie, colloquial for "a black person, a Negro" (now offensive), 1775, from dark (adj.) + -y (3). Related: Darkies.ETD darky (n.).2

    darkling (adv.)

    "in the dark," mid-15c., from dark (n.) + now-obsolete adverbial ending -ling (compare headlong). The verb darkle is a back-formation from 1810 (Moore, who rhymed it with sparkle), assuming the -ing as a present-participle adjective ending.ETD darkling (adv.).2

    By the same error, darkling (adj.), "dark, obscure, gloomy" is attested from 1763. The adverb was sometimes darklings, with adverbial genitive -s.ETD darkling (adv.).3

    darkly (adv.)

    Old English deorclice "in a (morally) dark manner, horribly, foully;" see dark + -ly (2). Meaning "mysteriously, with (often sinister) vagueness" is from late 14c.; that of "dimly, obscurely, faintly" is from early 15c.; that of "gloomily, ominously" is from 1590s.ETD darkly (adv.).2

    dark-room (n.)

    also darkroom, in photography, "room from which any light that would affect a photographic plate or film has been excluded," 1841, from dark (adj.) + room (n.).ETD dark-room (n.).2

    darksome (adj.)

    "somewhat dark, gloomy, shadowy," 1520s; see dark (adj.) + -some.ETD darksome (adj.).2

    darling (n.)

    Middle English dereling, from Old English deorling, dyrling "one who is much beloved, a favorite," double diminutive of deor "dear" (see dear (adj.)). The vowel shift from -e- to -a- (16c.) is usual for -er- followed by a consonant (see marsh).ETD darling (n.).2

    As an adjective "very dear, particularly beloved," from 1590s; in affected use, "sweetly charming" (1805). "It is better to be An olde mans derlyng, than a yong mans werlyng" (1562).ETD darling (n.).3

    darn (interj.)

    tame curse word, 1781, American English euphemism, a minced form of damn said to have originated in New England when swearing was a punishable offense; if so, its spread probably was influenced by 'tarnal, short for Eternal, as in By the Eternal (God), favorite exclamation of Andrew Jackson, among others (see tarnation). Mark Twain (who spells it dern) writes “this imprecation is a favorite one out in the ranching districts, and is generally used in the society of ladies, where a mild firm of expressionomy may be indulged in” (San Francisco, 1865). Related: darned (as a past-participle adjective, 1806); darndest (superlative, 1844), darnation (noun of action, 1798).ETD darn (interj.).2

    darn (v.)

    "to mend (fabric) by interweaving yarn or thread to fill a rent or hole," c. 1600, of unknown origin. Perhaps from French darner "mend," from darne "a piece, a slice," from Breton darn "piece, fragment, part." Alternative etymology is from obsolete dern "secret, hidden." Related: Darned; darning.ETD darn (v.).2

    darning (n.)

    "action or process of mending a hole (in fabric) by interweaving yarn or thread," 1610s, verbal noun from darn (v.). Darning-needle is from 1848; darning-stitch from 1881.ETD darning (n.).2

    darnel (n.)

    deleterious weed growing in grain fields, c. 1300, from northern dialectal French darnelle; according to one theory the the second element is Old French neelle (Modern French nielle) "cockle," from Vulgar Latin *nigella "black-seeded," from fem. of Latin nigellus "blackish."ETD darnel (n.).2

    But perhaps rather the word is related to Middle Dutch verdaernt, verdarnt "stunned, dumbfounded, angry," Walloon darne, derne "stunned, dazed, drunk," the weed being so called from its well-known inebriating quality (actually caused by a fungus growing on the plant); the French word for it is ivraie, from Latin ebriacus "intoxicated," and the botanical name, Lolium temulentum, is from Latin temulent "drunken," though this sometimes is said to be "from the heavy seed heads lolling over under their own weight."ETD darnel (n.).3

    Cockeram's "English Dictionarie" (1623) describes it as "A naughtie graine, almost like wheate, but much lesse, and groweth among wheate." Compare tare (n.1).ETD darnel (n.).4

    dart (n.)

    early 14c., "metal-pointed missile weapon thrown by the hand," from Old French dart "throwing spear, arrow," from Proto-Germanic *darothuz (source also of Old English daroð, Old High German tart "a dart, javelin," Old Norse darraþr "dart"). Italian and Spanish dardo are said to be from Germanic by way of Old Provençal. Also used since Middle English of Cupid's love-arrows. Dart-board is from 1901.ETD dart (n.).2

    dart (v.)

    late 14c., darten, "to pierce with a dart" (a sense now obsolete), from dart (n.). Sense of "throw with a sudden thrust" is from 1570s. Intransitive meaning "to move swiftly" is from 1610s; that of "spring or start suddenly and run or move quickly" (like a dart) is from 1610s. Related: Darted; darter; darting.ETD dart (v.).2


    town in Devon, England, named for its situation at the mouth of the Dart River, which is perhaps from a Celtic word for "oak."ETD Dartmouth.2

    Darwinism (n.)

    1864, "body of biological doctrine proposed by Charles Darwin," especially "the theory of species evolution by natural selection," from the name of English naturalist Charles Darwin (1809-1882). His major works were "The Origin of Species" (1859) and "The Descent of Man" (1871), + -ism.ETD Darwinism (n.).2


    surname attested from 12c., from Old English deorwine, literally "dear friend," probably used as a given name and also the source of the masc. proper name Derwin.ETD Darwin.2

    Darwinian (adj.)

    1794, "of or pertaining to the work or thought of English Enlightenment thinker Erasmus Darwin;" 1860 in reference to his grandson, Charles, the biologist. As a noun, 1808 in reference to Erasmus; 1869 as "one who favors or accepts the theory of species evolution by natural selection proposed by Charles Darwin." See Darwin. Related: Darwinianism.ETD Darwinian (adj.).2

    dash (v.)

    c. 1300, "strike suddenly and violently," also "move quickly, rush violently," and, transitive, "cause to strike suddenly and violently;" probably from a Scandinavian source (compare Swedish daska, Danish daske "to beat, strike"), somehow imitative. The oldest sense is that in dash to pieces and dashed hopes. Meaning "scatter or sprinkle" (something, over something else) is by 1520s. Intransitive meaning "write or sketch hurriedly" is by 1726 in dash off. By 1800 as a euphemism for damn. Related: Dashed; dashing.ETD dash (v.).2

    dashing (adj.)

    1796, "performed with dash, impetuous;" from 1801 as "given to cutting a dash," a colloquial expression attested from 1786 (see cut (v.)) for "acting brilliantly," from dash (n.) in the sense of "showy appearance" (1715). Earlier in the sense of "splashing" (1620s), which replaced dashende (mid-15c.) as a present-participle adjective. Related: Dashingly.ETD dashing (adj.).2

    dash (n.)

    late 14c., "a violent striking together of two bodies," from dash (v.). In writing and printing, "horizontal line used as a punctuation mark," 1550s. Meaning "small infusion or mixture" is from 1610s. Meaning "showy appearance" is from 1715; sense of "capacity for prompt action" is by 1796. As one of the two Morse code signals from 1859. Sporting sense is from 1881, originally "a short race run in one attempt, not in heats."ETD dash (n.).2

    dashboard (n.)

    also dash-board, 1846, "board or leather apron in front of a carriage to stop mud from being splashed ('dashed') into the vehicle by the horse's hoofs," from dash (v.) + board (n.1). Of motor vehicles, "panel under the windshield, on which control panels and gauges are mounted,” by 1904. Except for the situation relative to the front seat, it has nothing in common with the original.ETD dashboard (n.).2

    dasher (n.)

    early 14c., "one who or that which dashes" in any sense, agent noun from dash (v.). As "one who makes an ostentatious parade," by 1790.ETD dasher (n.).2

    dashiki (n.)

    West African type of loose shirt, 1969, a word of West African origin.ETD dashiki (n.).2

    dastard (n.)

    mid-15c., a term of contempt for one who is lazy or dull; an English formation on a French model, probably from *dast, "dazed," past participle of dasen "to daze" (see daze (v.)) or the equivalent past participle in Old Norse + deprecatory suffix -ard. Meaning "one who shirks from danger, base coward" is late 15c.ETD dastard (n.).2

    dastardly (adj.)

    1560s, "showing despicable cowardice," originally "dull," from Middle English dastard + -ly (1). Related: Dastardliness (1550s).ETD dastardly (adj.).2


    representing the pronunciation of that in West Indian, Irish, or African-American vernacular speech, from 1680s.ETD dat.2

    data (n.)

    1640s, "a fact given or granted," classical plural of datum, from Latin datum "(thing) given," neuter past participle of dare "to give" (from PIE root *do- "to give"). In classical use originally "a fact given as the basis for calculation in mathematical problems." From 1897 as "numerical facts collected for future reference."ETD data (n.).2

    The meaning "transmittable and storable information by which computer operations are performed" is recorded by 1946. Data-processing is from 1954; data-base (also database) "structured collection of data in a computer" is by 1962; data-entry is by 1970.ETD data (n.).3

    datable (adj.)

    "capable of having a date affixed," 1837, from date (n.1) + -able.ETD datable (adj.).2

    date (n.2)

    "fruit of the date-palm," c. 1300, from Old French date, from Old Provençal datil, from Latin dactylus, from Greek daktylos "date," originally "finger, toe." Said to be so called because of fancied resemblance between oblong fruit of the date palm and human digits, but some say it is from the resemblance of the plant's leaves to the palm of the hand. It's also possible that this sense of daktylos is a word from a Semitic source (compare Hebrew deqel, Aramaic diqla, Arabic daqal "date palm") that has been assimilated by folk-etymology to the Greek word for "finger." Date-palm is from 1837; the earlier word was date-tree (c. 1400).ETD date (n.2).2

    date (v.1)

    c. 1400, daten, "to mark (a document) with a date," also "to assign to or indicate a date" (of an event), from date (n.1). Meaning "to mark as old-fashioned" is from 1895. Intransitive sense of "to have a date" is by 1850.ETD date (v.1).2

    date (n.1)

    early 14c., "a period or stretch of time, a season, an age;" mid-14c., "time when something happened or will happen," from Old French date (13c.) "date, day; time," from Medieval Latin data, noun use of fem. singular of Latin datus "given," past participle of dare "to give, grant, offer" (from PIE root *do- "to give").ETD date (n.1).2

    From late 14c. as "the part of a writing or inscription which specifies when it was done." The sense transfer from "given" to "time" is via the Roman convention of closing every article of correspondence by writing "given" and the day and month — meaning perhaps "given to messenger" — which led to data becoming a term for "the time (and place) stated." A Roman letter would include something along the lines of datum Romae pridie Kalendas Maias — "given at Rome on the last day of April."ETD date (n.1).3

    Out of date "no longer in vogue" is attested from c. 1600.ETD date (n.1).4

    date (n.3)

    "liaison at a particular time, by prearrangement," 1885, gradually evolving from date (n.1) in its general sense of "appointment." The romantic sense is by 1890s. Meaning "person one has a date with" is by 1900. Date-rape is attested by 1973.ETD date (n.3).2

    date (v.2)

    "have a romantic liaison;" 1903, from date (n.3). Related: Dated; dating.ETD date (v.2).2

    dated (adj.)

    "old-fashioned," 1900, past-participle adjective from date (v.1) in the "mark as old-fashioned" sense.ETD dated (adj.).2

    dating (n.)

    "act or practice of having (romantic) dates," by 1939, verbal noun from date (v.2).ETD dating (n.).2

    dateless (adj.)

    1640s, "having no indication of time," from date (n.1) + -less. From 1923 as "free from engagements or appointments," from date (n.3).ETD dateless (adj.).2

    dateline (n.)

    also date-line, 1880 as an imaginary line down the Pacific Ocean on which the calendar day begins and ends, from date (n.1) + line (n.). Never set by any treaty or international organization, it is an informal construct meant to coincide with a line 180 degrees (12 hours) from Greenwich, but it always has followed a more or less crooked course.ETD dateline (n.).2

    Meaning "line of text that tells the date and place of origin of a newspaper, article, telegram, etc." is by 1888.ETD dateline (n.).3

    dative (adj., n.)

    mid-15c., in grammar, the case of nouns, pronouns, and adjectives denoting an indirect object of the action of the verb, from Latin dativus "pertaining to giving," from datus "given" (from PIE root *do- "to give"); in grammatical use from Greek dotikē (ptōsis) "dative (case)," from dotikos "of giving nature," from dotos "given" (from the same PIE root as the Latin word).ETD dative (adj., n.).2

    The notion is of the case that belongs to giving or commanding. Typically the case of the indirect object, but sometimes also denoting "motion toward." In old Germanic languages, the "fourth case," catch-all for Indo-European dative, ablative, locative, and other cases. In law, "that may be disposed of at pleasure," from 1530s.ETD dative (adj., n.).3

    datum (n.)

    proper Latin singular of data (q.v.).ETD datum (n.).2

    daub (v.)

    late 14c., dauben, "to smear with soft, adhesive matter, to plaster or whitewash a wall" (Dauber as a surname is recorded from mid-13c.), from Old French dauber "to whitewash, plaster" (13c.), perhaps from Latin dealbare, from de-, here probably meaning "thoroughly," + albare "to whiten," from albus "white" (see alb).ETD daub (v.).2

    From 1590s as "to dress or adorn (a person) without style or taste." Painting sense is from 1620s. Related: Daubed; daubing, daubery. As a noun from mid-15c. as "daubing material, cheap kind of mortar;" 1761 as "inartistic painting."ETD daub (v.).3

    daughter (n.)

    Middle English doughter, from Old English dohtor "female child considered with reference to her parents," from Proto-Germanic *dokhter, earlier *dhutēr (source also of Old Saxon dohtar, Old Norse dóttir, Old Frisian and Dutch dochter, German Tochter, Gothic dauhtar), from PIE *dhugheter (source also of Sanskrit duhitar-, Avestan dugeda-, Armenian dustr, Old Church Slavonic dušti, Lithuanian duktė, Greek thygater). The common Indo-European word, lost in Celtic and Latin (Latin filia "daughter" is fem. of filius "son").ETD daughter (n.).2

    The modern spelling evolved 16c. in southern England. In late Old English also "woman viewed in some analogous relationship" (to her native country, church, culture, etc.). From c. 1200 of anything regarded as feminine, considered with respect to its source. Related: Daughterly.ETD daughter (n.).3

    Daughter-in-law is attested from late 14c. (see in-law). Earlier was sonnes wif (early 14c.), earlier still snore, from Old English snoru, cognate with Old Norse snör, archaic German Schnur, from PIE root *snuso- (source also of Sanskrit snuṣa-, Greek nyos, Latin nurus (itself the source of Old French nuere, Spanish nuera), Old Church Slavonic snŭcha, Russian snocha), which is of uncertain origin.ETD daughter (n.).4

    daunt (v.)

    c. 1300, "to vanquish, subdue, conquer," from Old French danter, variant of donter (12c., Modern French dompter) "be afraid of, fear, doubt; control, restrain," from Latin domitare, frequentative of domare "to tame" (see tame (v.)). Sense of "to intimidate, subdue the courage of" is from late 15c. Related: Daunted; daunting.ETD daunt (v.).2

    dauntless (adj.)

    "bold, fearless, incapable of being daunted," 1590s, from daunt + -less. Related: Dauntlessly.ETD dauntless (adj.).2

    dauphin (n.)

    title of the eldest son of the king of France (in use from 1349-1830), early 15c., from Old French dauphin, literally "dolphin" (see dolphin).ETD dauphin (n.).2

    Originally it was the title attached to "the Dauphin of Viennois," whose province (in the French Alps north of Provence) came to be known as Dauphiné. Three dolphins were on the coat of arms of the lords of Viennois, first worn by Guido IV (d. 1142). It is said originally to have been a personal name among the lords of Viennois. Humbert III, the last lord of Dauphiné, ceded the province to Philip of Valois in 1349, on condition that the title be perpetuated by the eldest son of the king of France. The French fem. form is dauphine.ETD dauphin (n.).3

    davenport (n.)

    "large upholstered couch," 1897, apparently named for the manufacturer. Earlier (1853) "a kind of small ornamental writing table." The proper name is attested from 12c., from a place in Cheshire (Old English Devennport).ETD davenport (n.).2


    masc. proper name, in Old Testament name of the second king of Israel and Judah and author of psalms, from Hebrew Dawidh, literally "darling, beloved friend." The name was common in England and Scotland by 12c. but was popular much earlier in Wales. A nickname form was Dawe, hence surnames Dawson, Dawkins. A top 10 name for boys born in the U.S. from 1934 to 1992. Related: Davidic; Davidian.ETD David.2

    Davis Cup

    donated 1900 as a national tennis championship trophy by U.S. statesman Dwight Filley Davis (1879-1945) while still an undergraduate at Harvard.ETD Davis Cup.2

    davit (n.)

    also david, "crane-like structure on the side or stern of a vessel for suspending or lowering a boat," late 14c., daviot, apparently a use of the masc. proper name David on the pattern of applying common Christian names to useful devices (compare jack, jenny, jimmy).ETD davit (n.).2

    Davy Jones

    also Davey Jones, David Jones, "the spirit of the sea," 1674.ETD Davy Jones.2

    In Smollett's "The Adventures of Peregrin Pickle" he is described as ("according to the mythology of sailors") an ominous and terrifying fiend who "presides over all the evil spirits of the deep, and is often seen in various shapes, perching among the rigging on the eve of hurricanes, shipwrecks and other disasters." Also called Old Davy (1788) which has been compared to Old Nick (see: Nick). The second element in the name might be from biblical Jonah, regarded as unlucky by sailors.ETD Davy Jones.3

    Davy Jones's Locker "bottom of the sea," is by 1803 with that spelling, earlier David Jones his Locker (1674) and Davy's locker (1788), from nautical slang.ETD Davy Jones.4

    daw (n.)

    "jackdaw, small sort of crow," early 15c., daue, perhaps from an unrecorded Old English *dawe, from Proto-Germanic *dakhwo (source also of Old High German taha, German Dohle), perhaps imitative of bird's cry. Medieval Latin tacula, Italian taccola are said to be Germanic loan words.ETD daw (n.).2

    dawdle (v.)

    1650s, intransitive, "to idle, waste time," perhaps a variant of daddle "to walk unsteadily." Perhaps influenced by daw, because the bird was regarded as sluggish and silly. Not in general use until c. 1775. Transitive sense in dawdle away is attested by 1768. Related: Dawdled; dawdling; dawdler.ETD dawdle (v.).2

    dawdling (n.)

    "idling, wasting of time," by 1819, verbal noun from dawdle (v.).ETD dawdling (n.).2

    dawg (n.)

    colloquial for dog, attested from 1898.ETD dawg (n.).2

    dawn (v.)

    c. 1200, dauen, "to become day, grow light in the morning," shortened or back-formed from dauinge, dauing "period between darkness and sunrise," (c. 1200), from Old English dagung, from dagian "to become day," from Proto-Germanic *dagaz "day" (source also of German tagen "to dawn"), from PIE root *agh- "a day." Probably influenced by Scandinavian cognates (Danish dagning, Old Norse dagan "a dawning"). Related: Dawned; dawning.ETD dawn (v.).2

    Figurative sense "begin to develop" is from 1717. Of ideas, etc., "begin to become apparent or evident to the mind," by 1852.ETD dawn (v.).3

    dawn (n.)

    1590s, "first appearance of daylight in the morning," from dawn (v.). Middle English words for "first appearance of light in the morning" were day-gleam (late 14c.), dayspring (c. 1300), and dawning. Dawn (n.) in the figurative sense of "first opening or expansion of anything" is from 1630s. As a fem. proper name, little used in U.S. before 1920 but a top 25 name for girls born 1966-1975.ETD dawn (n.).2

    dawning (n.)

    "first appearance of light in the morning," late 13c., verbal noun from dawn (v.). It superseded Middle English dauing, dawing, dayinge, from Old English dagung.ETD dawning (n.).2

    day-book (n.)

    also daybook, "book for recording events and transactions of the day," 1570s, from day (n.) + book (n.).ETD day-book (n.).2

    daybreak (n.)

    "dawn, first appearance of light in the morning," 1520s, from day + break (n.).ETD daybreak (n.).2

    day care (n.)

    also daycare, day-care, "care and supervision of young children during the day," especially on behalf of working parents, by 1943, American English, from day + care (n.). Early references are to care for children of women working national defense industry jobs. For an earlier word, see baby-farmer.ETD day care (n.).2

    day-dream (n.)

    also daydream, "a reverie, pleasant and visionary fancy indulged in when awake," 1680s, from day + dream (n.). As a verb, attested from 1820. Related: Day-dreamer; day-dreaming. Daymare "feeling resembling a nightmare experienced while awake" is from 1737.ETD day-dream (n.).2


    1951, proprietary name (Dane & Co. of London) for a brand of fluorescent paint. As an adjective, with reference to colors and patterns, by 1959.ETD Day-Glo.2

    daylight (n.)

    c. 1300 (as two words from mid-12c., daies liht), "the light of day," from day + light (n.); its figurative sense of "clearly visible open space between two things" (1820) has been used in references to boats in a race, U.S. football running backs avoiding opposing tackles, a rider and a saddle, and the rim of a glass and the surface of the liquor. The (living) daylights that you beat or scare out of someone were originally slang for "the eyes" (1752), extended figuratively to the vital senses. Daylight-saving is attested by 1908.ETD daylight (n.).2

    daylong (adj.)

    also day-long, "lasting all day," Old English dæglang; see day + long (adj.).ETD daylong (adj.).2

    dayside (n.)

    "part of a newspaper's staff that works during the day," by 1942, American English, from day (n.) + side (n.).ETD dayside (n.).2

    daytime (n.)

    1530s, from day + time (n.).ETD daytime (n.).2

    daze (v.)

    late 14c., dasen, "be stunned; make bewildered," perhaps from Old Norse *dasa (compare dasask "to become weary," with reflexive suffix -sk). Or perhaps from Middle Dutch dasen "act silly." Perhaps originally "to make weary with cold" (a sense in English from c. 1400), which is the sense of Icelandic dasask (from the Old Norse word). Related: Dazed.ETD daze (v.).2

    daze (n.)

    "a dazed condition, state of being stunned or confused," 1825, from daze (v.).ETD daze (n.).2

    dazzle (v.)

    late 15c., "be stupefied, be confused" (a sense now obsolete), frequentative of Middle English dasen "be stunned, be bewildered" (see daze (v.)). Originally intransitive; the transitive sense of "overpower with strong or excessive light" is from 1530s. The figurative sense of "overpower or excite admiration by brilliancy or showy display" is from 1560s. As a noun, "brightness, splendor," 1650s. Related: Dazzled; dazzling.ETD dazzle (v.).2

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